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First points and further F1 perspective as Albon and Russell enjoy Bahrain experience

Norwich-backed Alexander Albon picked up his first F1 world championship points with a ninth-placed finish at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix for Toro Rosso. Picture: Toro Rosso

Norwich-backed Alexander Albon picked up his first F1 world championship points with a ninth-placed finish at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix for Toro Rosso. Picture: Toro Rosso

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It was a story of points and perspective for Norfolk's F1 drivers at a blustery and dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix.

Norfolk driver George Russell beat his Williams team-mate Robert Kubica once again in Bahrain, in his debut F1 season. Picture: WilliamsNorfolk driver George Russell beat his Williams team-mate Robert Kubica once again in Bahrain, in his debut F1 season. Picture: Williams

Williams’ Wisbech Formula 1 rookie and F2 champion George Russell came home 15th and for the second race running was too quick for team-mate Robert Kubica, in an uncompetitive car; the lapped pair were still the final two classified finishers by some margin.

As for fellow rookie Alexander Albon, the Thai-Brit born in Ipswich and backed by Norwich sports agency Full Contact picked up his first points by taking his Toro Rosso to ninth at the chequered flag – three places ahead of his team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

Mercedes claimed another one-two with winner Lewis Hamilton the chief beneficiary of Charles Leclerc’s stricken Ferrari – when it seemed the Monegasque was destined to pocket a deserved first grand prix victory.

“We know where we are at the moment, but it was a fun race for me,” admitted Russell.

“I had some nice little battles with Robert so I’m thankful to the team for letting us race, as it was enjoyable.

“It was quite a good race from a personal perspective but obviously not too enjoyable finishing 15th. We know where we are fighting for, but we brought the car home and learned some more things.”

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc picked up his first F1 pole position - and came within a mechanical issue of winning his first race - in Bahrain. Picture: PA/Luca BrunoFerrari driver Charles Leclerc picked up his first F1 pole position - and came within a mechanical issue of winning his first race - in Bahrain. Picture: PA/Luca Bruno

Senior race engineer Dave Robson added: “Credit to Robert and George as they drove extremely well and fought each other cleanly. Once the order settled down we continued to follow our strategy, we worked well to get both cars home, and we benefited from a few retirements at the end of the race.”

Albon had a much more enjoyable time of it around Sakhir – and will hope even better awaits in F1’s 1,000th grand prix, in China in a fortnight’s time.

“That was a busy race – I felt like I was always fighting with someone at some point, there was always something to do,” smiled Albon.

“I didn’t have the best start as I was a bit shy into the first corner, but after that I put my head down and got on with it.

“We had a good strategy and decent pace on the prime tyre. In the end, we got a bit lucky with the retirements, but I’ll take it.

“It was so tricky with the wind out there and it made the car unpredictable but we were quite strong in the race, it’s just a shame about the start.

“It was a challenge to overtake because when you get close to another car the tyres overheat and you get a bit stuck. However, I enjoyed myself out there and it was good to get that experience.

“I’m very happy to pick up my first points in Formula 1 and I hope we can carry this pace into China.”

Follow and listen to Norfolk’s own F1 podcast crew: The NR F1 Podcast

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